SUNY ESC hosted the 2013 Student Wellness Retreat at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York. It was both educational and engaging. In the spirit of promoting wellness to its student body, this retreat offered us the opportunity to learn new ways of managing stress, engage in both fitness activities and screenings and taught us important guidelines on how to advocate for our own healthcare as well as for a loved one. Although I wanted to attend every session offered, I soon realized that was going to be impossible. I adjusted my mind set with the intention to manage my time so I could attend as many sessions as possible and to learn something new at each session. In keeping with the spirit of time management, I was able to attend 8 of the 23 concurrent sessions offered. I walked away from each session with a minimum of one take away. For instance, during the interactive Mindfulness Practices for Well-Being session with Pierre Zimmerman I learned how to affectively respond to stress rather than react by utilizing the four elements that make up the body/mind practice: gentle movement, sitting/walking meditation, assertive and nonviolent communication and cultivation of empathy and compassion. After each session I attended, I walked away feeling more knowledgeable, stronger and confident. The Keynote Speaker was Benita Zahn. She delivered a highly charged speech motivating us to “go for it”! Friday night we were treated to comedian Michael Dean Ester. He offered us an energetic, motivational and inspirational night of hilarious laughter. Saturday night, we danced the night away with live music by a local popular cover band named, The Schmooze. They played a little of everything from various music genres including popular songs from the last four decades. They encouraged us to request our favorite songs so they could perform them; we did and they did! All in all, it was a wonderful event hosted by ESC. I met many new people who attend ESC on various campuses. It was interesting to learn a little about each of them and to engage in conversations as we shared our common experiences as non-traditional students at ESC. Since attending the Wellness Retreat I am sure I’ve made lifelong friends with whom we all share a common thread, our love of the learning experience at Empire State College.
ESC MALS – CARES President Maria Tripi